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Syria

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Summary

Syrian economic growth remained in the 4-5% range in 2008-10 even though the global economic crisis affected oil prices and the economies of Syria's key export partners and sources of investment. Damascus has implemented modest economic reforms in the past few years, including cutting lending interest rates, opening private banks, consolidating all of the multiple exchange rates, raising prices on some subsidized items, most notably gasoline and cement, and establishing the Damascus Stock Exchange - which began operations in 2009. In addition, President ASAD signed legislative decrees to encourage corporate ownership reform, and to allow the Central Bank to issue Treasury bills and bonds for government debt. Nevertheless, the economy remains highly controlled by the government. Long-run economic constraints include declining oil production, high unemployment, rising budget deficits, and increasing pressure on water supplies caused by heavy use in agriculture, rapid population growth, industrial expansion, and water pollution.

Syrian agriculture produces much of the foodstuffs the country needs. 26% of the land is classified as arable, but large areas lie unused because of lack of water. In most cases is irrigation necessary, as most of the rain falls outside the growing season. The quality of the soil is threatened by insufficient use of fertilizers and not rotating of crops.

The main produce include wheat, barley, maize and millet; cotton; lentils, onions, potatoes and sugar beets; olives, grapes, apples, citrus fruits; and tobacco. Equally important is the breeding of livestock, including sheep, cattle, camels and poultry. Syria's main export crops are wheat and barley, and cotton. Fisheries are little developed, and boats are small or medium sized. Fish include sardines, tuan, groupers, tunny and red and gray mullet.

Syrian industries still include many handmade products which often turn out decorative objects, mainly sold to Syrians themselves, but also to foreign visitors. Syria has a large production of wool, cotton, nylon textiles and natural silk.

International Reserves

US$ 20.632 billion (Source: World Bank; Data updated: November 2010)

Gross Domestic Product - GDP

US$ 68.336 billion (2009 estimate)

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity)

111.822 billion of International dollars (2009 estimate)

Real GDP growth

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2.3%

3.7%

5.9%

-2.1%

6.7%

4.5%

5.1%

4.3%

2008

2009

2010

2011*

5.2%

6%

3.2%

3%

*Estimate

GDP per capita - current prices

US$ 3,235 (2009 estimate)

GDP per capita - PPP

$5,293 International Dollars (2009 estimate)

GDP (PPP) - share of world total

1980

1990

2000

2010

2015**

0.13%

0.12%

0.13%

0.14%

0.15%

**Forecast

GDP - composition by sector

  • agriculture: 17.7%
  • industry: 26.5%
  • services: 55.9% (2009 estimate)
  • (Data released on November 2010)

Gross domestic expenditure on R&D (% of GDP)

N/A

(Data released on November 2010)

Inflation

2008

2009

2010

2011*

15.2%

2.8%

4.4%

6%

*Estimate

Unemployment rate

2008

2009

2010

2011*

10.9%

8.1%

8.4%

N/A

*Estimate

Public debt (General government gross debt as a % of GDP)

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011*

40.5%

30.5%

31.2%

27.5%

24.3%

*Estimate

Public deficit (General government net lending/borrowing as a % of GDP)

2007

2008

2009

2010*

2011**

-4%

-2.8%

-5.4%

-4.3%

-3.1%

*Estimate   **Forecast

Government bond ratings

Standard & Poor's: N/A

Moody's rating: N/A

Moody's outlook: N/A

(Foreign Currency Government Bond Ratings; Data last updated Nov 2010)

Current account balance

US$ -3.1 billion (2009 estimate)

Current account balance by percentage of GDP

-4.6% of GDP (2009 estimate)

Exports as percent of GDP

(Exports of goods and services)

33.9% (2009)

(Data released on December 2010)

Shares in world total merchandising export

0.09%

(Data were released in Nov 2011 and refer to 2010)

Shares in world total commercial services export

0.14%

(Data were released in Nov 2011 and refer to 2009)

Total exports

US$12.84 billion f.o.b. (2010 estimate)

Export commodities

crude oil, minerals, petroleum products, fruits and vegetables, cotton fiber, textiles, clothing

Total imports

US$14.32 billion f.o.b. (2008 estimate)

Import commodities

machinery and transport equipment, electric power machinery, food and livestock, metal and metal products, chemicals and chemical products, plastics, yarn, paper

Exports - major partners

Iraq 30%, Lebanon 10%, Germany 9.7%, Italy 8%, Egypt 5.5%, Saudi Arabia 5.2%, France 4.9% (2007)

Imports - major partners

Saudi Arabia 12%, China 8.7%, Egypt 6.2%, Italy 6%, UAE 5.9%, Ukraine 4.8%, Russia 4.8%, Germany 4.7%, Iran 4.3% (2007)

Contact

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